FL to CT Day 22
Columbia, NC to Virginia Beach, VA
We had a quiet evening at Alligator River Marina… since we had cruised for over 12 hours yesterday we decided to sleep today… alarm set for 0700 rather than 0600. The extra hour of sleep felt good and we did not jump up and get underway we did take our time this morning… Beecha went for a long walk with Susan and Susan came back from the walk with breakfast in hand… two breakfast sandwiches from Ms. Wanda’s Grill.
We finally got underway at 0830 and headed out toward the Albemarle Sound… winds forecast today for NE 10-15 knots increasing to 15-20 knots in the afternoon… 1-2 waves on the sound… should not be too bad… takes about 2 hours to cross the Albemarle to North River and with the NE winds the conditions would improve as we crossed the sound.
Of course the wind forecast was off as usual… winds were already 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 knots… seas were 3-4 to begin with and diminished as we crossed to 1-2 as we entered the North River.
From this point all the way to Coinjock there are several shallow areas… we were passing through on a rising tide and it was very close to high tide… did see some 8-8.5 spots that would have been touch-and-go at a lower tide. The areas were all noted in Active Captain as a shoaling hazard… popped up and surprised us.
In the North River the winds picked up quite a bit… blowing over 25 knots steady and a lot of gusts at 35 knots plus… fairly protected waters so the high winds did not cause any significant waves… just made it a pain to navigate. My autopilot is not working correctly so I am steering all day manually and the high winds make it a little more work.
Came into the Coinjock area about mid day… was surprised to see one of the American Cruise Line ships docked there… the “American Glory”… we had seen it in Florida when we were in Fernandina Beach. Thought maybe they were just moving it north for the New England summer season but they had passengers aboard.
We had just made the slight turn to port leaving Coinjock when we heard the horn of the “American Glory” blast… they were leaving the dock… they followed us across Currituck Sound and up the North Landing River… the winds were still blowing 25 knots plus and the Currituck was pretty stirred up… 2-3 waves with a few larger ones... nothing uncomfortable at all.
We planned to check out a new free dock I read about on Active Captain… the Pungo Ferry Marina… it had been closed for a couple of years and people were reporting stopping on their old fuel dock… We arrived there at about 1520 and spotted the dock… it was maybe 125 feet long and in fairly good shape… behind it was the old Pungo Ferry Marina building… showing a lot of weather and covered in graffiti. Pulled in and found 7.5 of water at the dock at just below mid tide so there was plenty of water. It by no means is a 5 star resort… but the dock looks solid and it’s free. It also puts us ina good position for tomorrow and the day of bridges. I think we have 7 or 8 bridges and a lock to contend with.
I wanted to follow the “American Glory” all the way to Norfolk today and suggested it to Susan but was voted down. Following the cruise ship would of given us a “free priority pass” through all the bridges… no opening schedules to deal with… would have been nice but I was out voted.
We were securely docked at 1530 at the Pungo Ferry Marina fuel dock. Our location for the night is N36°37.086’, W076°02.894’. We traveled for 7 hours covering 49.4 nm averaging 7.0 knots.
Posted at 4:21 PM
FL to CT Day 21
Oriental, NC to Columbia, NC
We had a great dinner at the Toucan Grill located at the Oriental Marina. I had an awesome burger called… Dragons Breath Burger… habanera jerk sauce, pineapple, roasted red peppers, and provolone cheese… I opted to hold the pineapple… just did not sound good to me on a burger… Susan had one of the Monday specials… 4 burger sliders... French fries and several cold beers… it was fantastic. For dessert we both had a huge mud slide and was it good. When we got back to the boat it was straight to bed for both of us.
We woke a little later than normal today… think the beers and mud slide may of caused that… anyway, we did manage to get away by 0730 and headed out to the Neuse River. The winds were forecast for 10-15 knots out of the NE producing maybe 2 foot waves making the cruise up the Neuse River a very comfortable ride.
I tried hailing “Sanctuary” several times on the VHF… they had spent the night at River Dunes Marina and I thought they were heading out with us today. Found out later in the day that they had decided to stay another day at River Dunes. So, we were cruising alone today. Although, I did hear from “Serendipity”… Peter called on the cell phone to inquire about any troubles we might have had with shoaling for the area they were cruising through today… told him I had not experienced any shoaling and found there to be plenty of water in the notorious trouble spots.
We had planned to cruise to the top of the Pungo River and anchor just before the A & P Canal… however we arrived at 1400 and it seemed far to early to stop. I had read on Active Captain about Tuckahoe Point Anchorage at the northern end of the A & P Canal. We had never tried this anchorage due to not having any place to take Beecha to land, However, today when I was researching an anchorage location I saw a note about a boat ramp up a small canal that the locals use to access the Alligator River… it was just to the west of Tuckahoe Point… so, we decided to continue on for another 20 nm to Tuckahoe Point… 2-1/2 to 3 hours more making it 1700-1730 when we would arrive.
We had not seen much boat traffic today at all… heard a few on the VHF but never really saw anyone until the A & P Canal when we were passed by a high speed ferry out of Boston… they hailed for a slow pass and I slowed to idle… it was a fairly large vessel and I could see the wake it was putting out behind it… just did not feel like rolling around… thus the slow to idle… didn’t help… he still came by putting out a 5 foot wake and talking to me on the VHF that he was passing us as slow as he could to not wake us… NOT! It was not terrible but just very discourteous… :(
We reached the end of the A& P Canal and the Tuckahoe Anchorage was just off to our port side… I had done some further research on the anchorage and was not thrilled with everything I had read and the forecast for winds tomorrow was not the best… the Alligator River can be nasty with 20-25 knot NE winds… and after that is the Albemarle Sound… NE winds are never good on it… Anyway, change of plans again…. Continue on… to Alligator Marina…. Only another 20 nm further.
There was no cell phone signal so I hailed Alligator Marina on the VHF to find out if they had room for us and to let them know I would be arriving around 1930. Ms Wanda was on the VHF and said… “Not a problem… we close at eight o’clock… see you when you arrive.”
As we exited the narrow portion of the Alligator River and started heading north up the river we became fully exposed to the winds... which were now blowing over 20 knots… so much for the 10-15 not forecast… anyway, it did slow us down and checking our ETA we were arriving closer to 1945 now… not leaving us a lot of leeway for when Alligator Marina closed… even if we arrived later than 2000 we could still dock. Just wanted to make it before Ms. Wanda left… she sort of a reputation of sometimes being.. how do I say it… “Difficult? “ anyway, I did not want to upset her by arriving late.
Only one more thing to deal with before the marina… the Alligator River Swing Bridge… we had to have it opened to get to Ms Wanda’s marina. We were still on schedule for arrival at 1945. Just about 3/4 of a mile away from the bridge I was hailed by bridge tender on the VHF. He asked if I could slow down… he had a commercial tug southbound and wanted to open just once for us and the tug. What could I say… No? I responded that I would slow my approach. Shortly, the tug hailed the bridge and informed them that he was 8 minutes away… I was sitting at the bridge at this point waiting. We informed Ms. Wanda that we had been delayed by the bridge and we would be there as quickly as we could.
The bridge tender did not wait the full 8 minutes and opened the bridge earlier and we were able to pass through before the tug reached the bridge… we had to make a 90 degree turn to port directly after the bridge to enter the channel to the Alligator River Marina… but the tug was too close for us to cross his bow in front of him… so we waited till he passed and then made our turn to port and headed toward the marina. Plenty of time to make it… had 5 minutes to get in.
We arrived right just before 2000 and was met by Ms. Wanda at the dock… she was giving us docking instructions… her way… not ours… we have a system to our docking… Susan knows what lines we need first and where they need to be placed… Ms. Wanda also has her system and her and Susan were not agreeing…what did I say… “Difficult”… anyway, we made it in on time and we were securely docked at 2000.
Our location for the night is N35°54.344, W076°01.762’. We traveled for 12.5 hours covering 85.2 nm averaging 6.8 knots.
Posted at 10:37 PM
FL to CT Day 20
Swansboro, NC to Oriental, NC
Not a great forecast for today’s weather… rain, and more rain… it did rain during the night but when we woke at 0600 it was not raining. Susan took Beecha for her morning walk. With the forecast I debated on weather to leave or stay at the dock… we had a short day planned going only to Oriental, NC… so I opted to depart and we left the dock at 0700 and headed north on the ICW. “Sanctuary” hailed on the VHF and let us know they were off the dock and heading to River Dunes Marina today, so we would not see them tonight but would stay in touch.
It was a very uneventful day of cruising… the forecast was very accurate and we had rain all day… nothing very heavy just a steady shower… no sunshine… :(
We did communicate with “Sanctuary” one more time and we confirmed our destinations for the day and would touch base tomorrow.
Besides having current with us for the majority of the day the best part of the whole day was when we arrived to Oriental and the free town dock was open… the dock has room for just two boats and we were one of them…http://www.towndock.net/harborcam … we have found this dock open only one other time a couple of years ago.
We were securely docked at 1245. Our location for the night is N35°01.488’, W076°41.739’. We traveled for 5.75 hours covering 42.8 nm averaging 7.5 knots.
Posted at 1:36 PM